School Board Chairman John Darden urged those who attended the Troup County School System’s regular meeting Thursday to vote “no” on the charter school amendment that’s on the ballot Nov. 6.
“I would ask you to give a ‘no pass’ vote a strong consideration,” he said. “The amendment is written on the ballot so that a ‘no’ vote sounds wrong,” but it would hurt current public school systems.
“It would actually do further harm and take local control away,” he said.
The ballot referendum reads, “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow state or local approval of public charter schools upon the request of local communities?”
School officials said earlier this week the amendment isn’t necessary.
“Applications for charter schools can currently be presented to local boards of education. If the application is denied, the applicant can appeal the decision to the State Board of Education,” said schools spokeswoman Tina Duckett.
Since fiscal year 2003, the state has cut $53.5 million of Quality Basic Education funding for public education in the Troup County School System, Duckett said. As a result, the school district has closed campuses, reduced positions, implemented furlough days and cut budgets down to “daunting” levels.
Darden said Thursday voters should visit two websites for additional information: votesmartgeorgia.com and gsba.com.
The school board also on Thursday, as expected, approved a school improvement plan proposed by Superintendent Cole Pugh earlier this week.
District overall goals include making sure students achieve at their highest potential; providing a safe learning environment; engaging students, staff, families, businesses and community in the process; and maximizing school system efficiency and productivity. Pugh said one new idea included in student achievement is a change in how the school system assesses student and teacher performance.
The school system plan also includes program evaluations, determining what programs are effective. Pugh said that Troup, like most school systems, currently is “not very good at program evaluations.”
The plan also includes goals for evaluating employees, which will align with a new system implemented by the state. Also included are plans to distribute school system information on a wider basis, including using social media.